- Created: Sunday, 26 September 2010 11:47
- Written by London FRFI
On 25 September, activists from FRFI and other groups held a lively demonstration outside Marks and Spencer on Oxford Street, to mark 10 years of Palestinian Intifada and 10 years of the weekly picket against M&S.
The Intifada began on 29 September 2000, a day after Ariel Sharon and 1000 riot police marched through the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is home to Islam’s third most holy shrine, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Police used live ammunition and rubber bullets against unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, killing 6 and injuring 220. Within the first few days of the Intifada, 700,000 bullets and projectiles had been fired in the West Bank, and 300,000 in Gaza.
Since the beginning of the Intifada in 2000, activists in the campaign Victory to the Intifada (VTI) have been demonstrating outside Marks and Spencer stores, calling for a consumer boycott of Britain’s biggest corporate sponsor of the Israeli state. Marks and Spencer annually sell approximately £240 million worth of Israeli goods, but have also been marked with a long history of political support for the state of Israel and the Zionist movement. This goes as far back as the1940s, when M&S Chairman Israel Sieff advocated ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and continues today - in 2008, Chief Executive Stuart Rose proclaimed to Zionist charity World Ort that “we share the same values”. Victory to the Intifada calls for the complete boycott of M&S, as a symbol of boycotting British state and corporate support for the vicious Zionist state.
Activists from FRFI, marking 10 years of Intifada and VTI action, were joined by representatives of the CPGB-ML, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Campaign, George Jackson Socialist League, Boycott Ahava campaign and other groups in the demonstration, which lasted from 12-3pm. Demonstrators were surrounded by Palestinian flags, banners and placards, as signatures were collected and leaflets handed out to passers-by on Oxford Street. The few vocal Zionists were soon drowned out in a sea of support, with hundreds signing the petition.
At around 2 pm, activists presented Marks and Spencer with a few of the petitions received over 10 years. In front of the building activists unveiled a wall of filled petitions, stretching the length of the entire shop. The petitions, only a small percentage of the more than 30,000 signatures received over 10 years, stood as a reminder to Marks & Spencer that we will not tolerate its sponsorship of the racist Zionist state. Chanting demonstrators and the petition wall attracted much public attention and support, with many more signing to show their opposition to the Zionist state.
VTI will continue to take action against Marks and Spencer each week, to show our solidarity with Palestinians suffering under British and US backed Israeli state terrorism and apartheid. As the Israeli state continues its barbaric actions, it is crucial for us in Britain to take a stand against the Zionist state and its British corporate and state sponsors.
Demonstrate 6-8pm every Thursday, outside Oxford Street M&S.
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